Ongoing Advocacy to Address Our State Roads
I write to update the community on my office’s work to advocate for improvements to our roads. In February, I met with representatives from NYSDOT Region 8 to discuss the state of the roads in my district. My office is in an ongoing conversation with them, and I am pleased to see that short-term safety issues, such as patching potholes, have been and are being addressed as weather permits.
The 9A study that is getting underway this week will help inform long-term planning for the stretch of that road that runs from Ossining to Pleasantville. Route 9A was designed in a different time and needs a closer look to see how it can meet our current and future needs. However, I also believe it is critical that a repaving of 9A be scheduled in the interim; seasonal patching has not been sufficient at addressing the road conditions. From a planning perspective, we can advocate for a short-term solution with a more cost feasible approach (pothole patching), while also advocating for medium-term (repaving) and long-term (total redesign) solutions which may require more significant investment and therefore more time to come to fruition.
To that end, our major priority now is getting funding for improvement projects. In our one-house proposals, both houses of the legislature included more funding for roads than did the Governor. My colleague from Westchester, Assembly Member MaryJane Shimsky, sits on the Transportation committee and advocated for an additional $100 million in our one house budget for road paving, which I fully supported. If you would like to see more funding for roads included in the final New York State budget, I encourage you to reach out to the Governor’s office directly to show your support for it: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form. Hearing from a lot of constituents could help nudge her closer to the Legislature’s numbers in the final budget.
Of course, getting more money in the state budget overall means nothing if that money doesn’t get to our area. NYSDOT Region 8 has the highest density of state roads in the state and the worst-rated ones – that needs to change. My colleagues in the Assembly's Transportation committee tell me that they are looking at new approaches, such as funding according to a formula that accounts for the density of state roads in a region, to create more equitable funding. I will continue to push for any changes that would result in our roads getting the attention they sorely need.
Federal funding is another avenue we are pursuing. I have learned more about the process for getting projects included on the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which establishes eligibility for transportation improvement projects in the region served by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC). I have met with the newly appointed co-chair of NYMTC, County Executive George Latimer, to discuss our needs and plan a tour of the district’s roads. This will help us to get capital projects on the list and access funds made available by President Biden’s infrastructure deal.
I appreciate the steadfast advocacy of my constituents and local governments on this issue. We must all work together to communicate to the Department of Transportation, Governor’s office, my colleagues in the Legislature, and other critical decision-makers the dire need for infrastructure funding, especially here in Region 8. Please continue to reach out to my office on this issue; we are always happy to listen to your concerns, and it is helpful to know how many constituents are engaged on this issue. We have also been able to elevate certain acute issues for attention by our NYSDOT regional office, who have been prompt to respond. We can be reached via phone at (914) 941-1111 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg